Missouri Mental Health Foundation to offer free virtual conference ‘Real Voices, Real Choices’


The Missouri Mental Health Foundation and Missouri Department of Mental Health will hold a free two-day conference, “Real Voices, Real Choices,” to empower families and individuals living with mental illness, developmental and intellectual disabilities and those in recovery for substance use disorders. 

The virtual program will include 15 presentations across various topics, from neurodiversity and public guardianship to personal finance and mentoring, along with a keynote from speaker Susan Badeau. 

Badeau is a nationally known speaker, writer and consultant who currently serves on several national and international boards, including the Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment, Justice for Families and Imara International. 

“The Department of Mental Health is dedicated to enhancing consumer voices, expanding public education, promoting mental health, preventing substance misuse, and helping people with disabilities live their lives to the fullest,” Director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health Mark Stringer said. 

“The Real Voices, Real Choices conference is a priority event for the department, even during these challenging times,” Stringer added. 

The virtual conference, held annually since 2008, includes a lineup of presentations that residents can watch live on Aug. 30 and Aug. 31 on the Missouri Mental Health Foundation’s Facebook page, YouTube page or website

People can also view each session after the event on the Foundation’s website. 

People can register for free, but registration is not required to attend the virtual conference.

Individuals seeking continuing education credits must pre-register for the free program held on Aug. 30 and Aug. 31. 

“During my time with Real Voices, Real Choices, I have been deeply honored to make connections with incredible individuals who come from all walks of life and have beautifully unique backgrounds,” conference coordinator Kristina Cannon said. 

“Hearing their amazing stories of perseverance and victory in the face of great adversity is extremely inspiring,” Cannon added.